Tuesday, 30 March 2010

News Release: SNG Backs Labour’s Action

The Save Nigeria Group (SNG) declares total support for the mass action for Electoral Reforms and removal of Professor Maurice Iwu as Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, slated for Wednesday, March 31, 2010 in Abuja .

There is no doubt that the most urgent and critical issue that confronts Nigeria today is how to guarantee free and fair elections as well as restore faith in the ballot box and the electoral process. Part of the stigma of the tragic tenure of Professor Iwu as INEC Chairman is the perversion with impunity of the electoral will of the Nigerian people. The chequered history of electoral banditry in Nigeria has its darkest pages during the inglorious era of Iwu. The 2007 elections in Nigeria in particular have been adjudged as the worst in the history of humanity by both local and foreign observers. This is rightly so as there are still petitions in the Tribunals for elections conducted in 2007 even when Iwu’s INEC has unfolded the “time-table” for 2011 elections.

Perhaps we would not have been this worried if not that our moral columns have totally collapsed to the point that Maurice Iwu, in concert with his accomplices, is already scheming for a second term as INEC boss. His Comrades-in-Electoral-Crimes have started showing their faces with the ways the Senate President David Mark asked Senator Isiaka Adeleke, Senate Committee on INEC Chairman, to receive pro-Iwu demonstrators last week in the premises not accessible to SNG on March 10, 2010.

Not that alone, some otherwise respected columnists have also joined the bandwagon of the ‘Iwu-Must-Stay’ campaigns, based on so-called “experience” which has not been palatable to electoral process in Nigeria.

The time has come for Nigerians to boldly press for Iwu’s removal as a first step towards electoral reforms in Nigeria. We are not oblivious of the fact that the removal of Iwu on its own would not stop rigging in Nigeria but it is a right step to take to imbue confidence in the electoral process.

This is why we back the action of organized labour and urge all Nigerians to support the protest. What is at stake is the destiny of Nigeria and its people. It is clear to all discerning minds that we cannot solve any of our problems as long as we do not have credible leaders – leaders who are accountable to the people and leaders who hold their staying in office to the electoral will. This is why SNG has impressed it on Acting President Goodluck Jonathan that the most important agendum to which others can be added is Electoral Reforms. On that we stand!

Never again must our people be subjected to cabal rule, given what we have experienced in the last 135days. And the best way forward for us not to ever again trek that ugly route is to insist on Electoral Reforms now!

(1)Engr. Buba Galadima (2)‘Yinka Odumakin (3)Salihu Lukman  (4)Mike Igini (5)Osita Okechukwu (6)Mallam Tanko Yunusa

Monday, 29 March 2010

News Release: Yoruba Academy for inauguration

                                                      [Yoruba Art]

The Yoruba Academy, which was conceived at the Yoruba Retreat, held at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan in 2008 becomes real with the inauguration of the Governance organs in Ibadan on Wednesday, March 31, 2010.

Billed for the Academy’s House at 25, Dejo Oyelese Street, Old Bodija Estate, Ibadan at 11.00am prompt, the event attracts who-is-who in the Yoruba nation-homeland and Diaspora.

The two organs for inauguration are the Board of Trustees and Governing Council make up as follows:

Members of the Board of Trustees:
1. Professor Babatunde Aliyu Fafunwa – Chairman
2. Professor (Mrs.) Bolanle Awe
3. Professor Wole Soyinka
4. Mrs. Francesca Emmanuel
5. Professor Akinwunmi Isola
6. Professor Wale Omole
7. General Alani Akinrinade
8.Justice Bolarinwa Babalakin
9. Professor Olabiyi Yayi
10. Mrs. Jumoke Anifowose
11. Hon. Wale Oshun
12. Mr. Jimi Agbaje

Members of the Governing Council:
1. Professor Wale Omole – Chairman
2. Dr. Tunde Adegbola
3. Alagba Adebayo Faleti
4. Dr. Charles “Diji Akinola
5. Mr. Tola Mobolurin
6. Miss Yetunde Sekoni
7. Mr. Dipo Famakinwa
8. Prince Oye Oyewumi
9. Dr. Iyabo Bassir
10. Dr. Sola Olorunyomi
11. Mr. Tunde Kelani
12. Engr. Francis Ojo
13. Dr. Tunji Olowolafe
14. Professor Kunle Lawal
15. Mr. Kayode Samuel
16. Dr. Wale Adebanwi
17. Professor Bolaji Aluko

‘Yinka Odumakin
For: The Yoruba Academy

Sunday, 28 March 2010

News Report: Nigerian Ministerial Nominees Submit Signed Undated Letters Of Resignation

                                           [Gusau, National Security Adviser]

The current Nigerian ministerial nominees submitted signed undated letters of resignation to the office of the National Security Adviser(NSA), chidi opara reports learnt. The submission of signed undated letters of resignation is a pre-condition given to the lobbying team of the nominees.

This submission of signed undated letters of resignation as a check on Ministers who may want to be independent minded was first used by former President Olusegun Obasanjo during his civilian administration. Obasanjo reportedly made the then ministerial nominees, with the exception of the "elder statesmen" amongst them to sign and submit such letters. The Umaru Yar'Adua Presidency was also said to have adopted same measure.

Our investigation revealed that the acting President being a major participant in the Yar'Adua administration, knew how effective the measure was in controlling "stubborn" Ministers and decided to adopt the strategy.

We also learnt that this was the major reason why Ministers in the Yar'Adua cabinet, including the immediate past Minister of Information and Communications, were relunctant to invoke the relevant sections of the Constitution during the long absence of the sick President. "They only started making moves in that direction when it became apparent that Yar'Adua would not come back as President", a security contact hinted to us.

Signed undated letters of resignation by ministerial nominees are filed, to be dated and released by the Presidency through the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, should any Minister fall out of favour with the Presidency.

chidi opara reports could not sight any of the letters at the time of preparing this report.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

News Report: Nigeria's Sick President: "Alfas" Take Over From Doctors

                                                [President Yar'Adua]

About fifteen "Alfas" have been attending to the health of Nigeria's sick President, Umaru Yar'Adua, since he was evacuated from a Saudi hospital to Nigeria, against the advice of the medical team attending to him, in the wake of the National Assmbly's declaration of the then Vice-president as acting President. "Alfas" are moslem spiritualists who offer prayers to people in spiritual needs.

chidi opara reports can now reveal that these "Alfas", most of whom come from the Republics of Niger and Chad were hired by the President's first wife, Hadjia Turai Yar'Adua. They are led by a certain "Mahmud" from Borno state. These "Alfas" are lodged at a privately owned property in Lafia, capital city of Nasarawa state, from where they are driven to the Presidential villa every night for midnight prayer sessions and sacrifices on behalf of the ailing President. They are usually conveyed to the villa in different brands of unmarked mini luxurious buses with tinted windshields and are usually driven back to Lafia before dawn.

The success recorded so far in these prayer sessions, chidi opara reports learnt on good authority was what have been fueling speculations about the President's resumption of duty. The President is reported to have recovered enough to sit and discuss for minutes, although his speeches are still largely incoherent. There is also report of occassional relapse into unconsciousness.

It was speculated that the President would attend yesterday's Jumat service at the National mosque Abuja. "At the close of service", according to a citizen reporter, "there was no sign of the President".

At the President's family house in Yar'Adua quarters in Katsina, Katsina state, our network members have severally noticed "Alfas" hired by the President's mother offering prayers and sacrifices for the speedy recovery of Mr. President.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Citizen Report: Jumat Service Ends With No Sign Of Ailing Nigerian President

                                         [National Mosque Abuja]

A citizen reporter from the national mosque in Abuja have just filed a report to chidi opara reports that "at the close of today's Jumat service, there was no sign of the ailing Nigerian President, who it was speculated would attend today's prayer at the mosque".

The report further stated that the speaker of The House of Representative, Mr. Oladimeji Bankole and other dignataries worshipped at the mosque.

"The road leading to the mosque was closed and a large crowd that gathered to catch a glimpse of the President were disappointed" , the report further stated.

The Nigerian President have been incommunicado since november last year when he took ill.

There had been speculations recently that the President would attend today's prayer at the mosque.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

News Report: Tiger Woods to Hold Press Conference at Masters

                                [Tiger Woods]

Tiger Woods is scheduled to hold his first press conference in nearly five months on Monday, April 5, at 2 p.m. according to a tentative interview schedule that Augusta National released Wednesday.

It will be his first time facing a room full of reporters since he crashed his SUV into a tree on Nov. 27, setting off shocking revelations of rampant infidelity.

The Masters only recently began conducting a press conference on Monday of tournament week, usually a player with only moderate news interest because most of the media is not there yet.

Arnold Palmer, one of the most popular players in golf history, suggested that Woods be more open with reporters.

“It’s up to him to do and say whatever he feels he needs to do to redeem the situation, put it in the proper place,” Palmer said. “ ... I suppose the best thing he could do would be open up and just let you guys shoot at him. And that’s just my thought.”

(From The New York Post)

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

News Report: Dora Akunyili's Last Minute Lobby Pays Off

                                            [Dora Akunyili]

A last minute meeting initiated between representatives of Nigeria's immediate past Minister of Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akunyili, members of the Yar'Adua cabal and South-eastern governors by rtd. General Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria's immediate past President, have paid off. Akunyili's name have been included in the list of ministerial nominees before the Senate, bringing the list to thirty. Twenty-five names had earlier been submitted.

Following intense lobby to stop the nomination of Professor Akunyili by a combined team of lobbyists from the Yar'Adua group and South-eastern governors, the Acting President, chidi opara reports learnt had called Obasanjo, known to be pushing the Akunyili nomiation to alert him of the situation.

Further information has it that Obasanjo realizing the extent of the anti Akunyili campaign pleaded with the National Security Adviser(NSA), "to do something about the situation".

It was further revealed to us that a meeting was convened by the NSA this morning to resolve the differences. The meeting which started at about 9.30 am and ended at about 12.15pm had in attendance, two representatives of the former Minister, two representatives of the Yar'Adua group, five representatives of the South-eastern governors, an Obasanjo representative and a senior aide of the NSA(presiding).

Professor Akunyili's representaives were said to have made promises of "good behaviour" on behalf of the controversial former Minister.

Ministerial List So Far:
1. Engineer Chris Ogienwonyi
2. Josephine Anenih
3. Adetokunbo Kayode
4. Godsday Orubebe
5. Dieziani Allison-Madueke
6. Fidelia Njeze
7. Somo Nuhu Wya
8. Odein Ajumogobia
9. Akinlabi Olasunkanmi
10. Professor M.K. Abubakar
11. Navy Captain N. S. Olubolade
12. Ndanusa Alao
13. Alhaji Murtallab Yar’Adua
14. Hon. Nduese Essien 
15. Alhaji Umaru Aliyu
16. Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq
17. Olusegun Olutoyin Aganga
18. Labaran Maku
19. Josephine Tapgun
20. Bello adoke
21. Ernest Odebola
22.Emeka Worgu
23. Suleiman Bello
24. Sanusi Dagash
25. Bala Mohammed
26. Dora Akunyili
27. Shamsuddeen Usman
28. Emmanuel Iheanacho
29. Musa Sada
30. Sheikh Abdullah

News Report: China's Communist Newspaper Accuses Google Of Helping US Intelligence

A Chinese Communist Party newspaper accused Google on Wednesday of colluding with U.S. spies, and said the firm's retreat from China over censorship justified Beijing's efforts to promote homegrown technology.

China's latest blast at the world's biggest Internet search company came in the overseas edition of the People's Daily, the chief newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party.

Google on Monday shut its mainland Chinese-language portal Google.cn and began rerouting searches to a Hong Kong site, over two months after it said it would not accept the self-censorship demanded by China's government, which is determined to keep a tight grip on domestic users' access to the Internet.

China's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it regarded Google's departure as the "individual act" of one company, and said the country remained welcoming of foreign investors.

But Beijing's response to Google's complaints about censorship and hacking has also echoed nationalist-tinged claims that Google and Washington used the dispute over Internet controls to challenge Communist Party authority.

"For Chinese people, Google is not god, and even if it puts on a full-on show about politics and values, it is still not god," said a front-page commentary in the paper.

"In fact, Google is not a virgin when it comes to values. Its cooperation and collusion with the U.S. intelligence and security agencies is well-known," said the newspaper.

"All this makes one wonder. Thinking about the United States' big efforts in recent years to engage in Internet war, perhaps this could be an exploratory pre-dawn battle," the commentary said of Google's pull-out.

The overseas edition of the newspaper is a small-circulation offshoot of the main domestic edition, and often makes bolder comments than the main edition.

( From Reuters)

Monday, 22 March 2010

News Release: DPA Charges Fashola,Opeifa Over LASTMA Officers’s Killing Of Bus Driver, Okada Rider

                                          [Governor Fashola of Lagos State]

Democratic Peoples’ Alliance (DPA) wants Governor Babatunde Fashola to veto his Special Adviser on Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, and order a full-scale investigation into the killing on Monday of a commercial bus driver by an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA).

Charging the Special Adviser, who supervises LASTMA, with encouraging, condoning and defending the criminal acts and impunity of his officials, DPA in a statement by its Director of Publicity, Felix Oboagwina, lampooned Opeifa for blaming the killing of the 50-year old Benjamin Onyebuchi Igbokwe on touts, contrary to public knowledge and eyewitness.

DPA emphasized that Igbokwe’s killing came seven days on the heels of the killing of an okada commercial motorcyclist by a LASTMA official on the same Ikotun-Ejigbo axis, and a Pentecostal Pastor last year.

“Opeifa’s statement is irresponsible, callous, presumptuous and inciting and it appears as if the Adviser is giving his men the licence to kill and expect nothing to happen.” DPA said. “Rather than give the killer cover, the Special Adviser should immediately commence the process to punish and hand over the killer to police for prosecution. If the LASTMA officers were not culpable as Opeifa claims, why then did they disappear from the Ikotun-Cele axis from Tuesday in the wake of the incident?”

The party demanded compensation for the slain father of seven, who lost his life in an attack by a uniformed LASTMA officer identified as Mr. Adesinga Osinga.

The son of the deceased, Somto Miracle Igbokwe, and other eyewitnesses reported that the incident occurred at Oke-Ifa in Ejigbo Local Government Monday evening when the officer stopped and boarded the bus driven by the deceased and proceeded to beat his up. Despite pleas by the man and his passengers, the officer dragged him out of the cabin and slammed his head against the vehicle, following which the man slumped and bled profusely from the nose and ears. He died on the spot.

I watched him beat my Dad to death!” DPA quoted Somto as lamenting, wondering where Opeifa got his facts from.

DPA described Igbokwe’s case as pathetic, saying it showed the level of dehumanization to which the government has subjected Lagosians through its various agencies like LASTMA, Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) Brigade, local government paramilitary personnel and the Task Force on Environmental Matters.

According to the party, Igbokwe’s killing, coming a few days after that of a commercial motorcycle (okada) operator and a Pentecostal Pastor last year along that same Ikotun-Ejigbo axis (both of whom died after being battered by LASTMA men), had become a metaphor for the executive lawlessness typifying law-enforcement operatives employed by the Fashola government.

It is common knowledge that these people usually go on duty armed with cudgels, axes, machetes, broken bottles and other dangerous weapons and Lagos is awash with the blood of their many innocent victims,” DPA lamented.

The party advocated a reorientation of all the paramilitary agencies in the state interfacing with the public.

Beginning with the querying of Opeifa and prosecution of Osinga, every one of them should be tutored to hold life as sacred and human rights as inalienable,” the DPA statement said.

The party said it was noteworthy that LASTMA under the Special Adviser also came up for mention in the current complaints of extortion tabled by food and cattle dealers who recently went on strike to draw attention to their plight.

Felix  Oboagwina
Director of Publicity, Lagos State DPA

Sunday, 21 March 2010

News Report: Dora Akunyili May Not Make It To Nigeria's New Cabinet

                                             [Dora Akunyili]

The erstwhile Nigerian Minister of Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akunyili may not make it to the new cabinet to be constituted soon by Nigeria's Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

chidi opara reports was reliably informed that the former Minister, whose controversial memo to the last Executive Council of the Federation(EXCOF), requesting the body to take decission on the health status of President Umaru Yar'Adua, offended some powerful interests, is reported to be finding it difficult to lobby her way into the new cabinet. Akunyili and forty-one others lost their jobs in a recent cabinet dissolution.

The former Minister's lobbyists which included a chieftain of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, "Ohaneze ndi Igbo", could not get the ears of rtd. General Ibrahim Babangida on a recent visit to his mansion in Minna, Niger state. Babangida we learnt, rather detailed one of his junior aides to hear the lobbyists out. Dora Akunyili is from the Igbo ethnic stock.

Worse treatment was said to have been meted out to the former Minister's lobbyists at the residence of rtd. Lt. General Theophilus Danjuma in Abuja. "They were hardly allowed into the compound", a contact close to the "Ohaneze ndi Igbo" chieftain confided in chidi opara reports. Danjuma is the chairman of the recently inaugurated Presidential Advisory Committee(PAC).

Even former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is known to have facilitated Dora Akunyili's inclusion into the last cabinet is reported to be keeping a safe distance from the controversial ex Minister. Some Obasanjo insiders who spoke to some of our network members however assured that the immediate past President's current attitude to the erstwhile Information and communications Minister was a ploy to deceive the anti Akunyili elements who are bent on fraustrating her coming back. "Let me assure you that Madam's name will be on the final list", an Obasanjo insider volunteered to chidi opara reports in Abeokuta yesterday.

Our checks in the South-east have also revealed that governors from the region where the former Minister hail from, are opposed to her coming back. They, according to unconfirmed information at our disposal  are accusing her of being too independent minded.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

News Report: Pope Says "I am truly sorry for the harm done to generations of Irish Catholics"

                                           [Pope Benedict XVI]

Pope Benedict XVI has rebuked Irish bishops for "grave errors of judgment" in handling clerical sex abuse and ordered a Vatican investigation into the Irish church to wipe out the scourge.

There was no mention of any Vatican responsibility in the scandal and no specific punishments doled out for bishops blamed by victims and Irish government-ordered investigations for having covered up years of abuse.

In a pastoral letter to the Irish faithful, Benedict said: "I am truly sorry" for the harm done to generations of Irish Catholics who suffered "sinful and criminal" abuse at the hands of priests, brothers and nuns.

"It is understandable that you find it hard to forgive or be reconciled with the church," he said. "In her name, I openly express the shame and remorse that we all feel."

Benedict used his harshest words for the abusers themselves, saying they had betrayed the trust of the faithful, brought shame on the church and now must answer before God and civil authorities.

"Conceal nothing," he exhorted them. "Openly acknowledge your guilt, submit yourselves to the demands of justice, but do not despair of God's mercy."

Benedict faulted their superiors, the Irish bishops, for having failed "sometimes grievously" to apply the church's own law which calls for harsh punishments for child abusers, including defrocking them.

But he didn't rebuke them specifically for having failed to report cases of abuse to police, saying only that serious mistakes were made and that now they must "continue to cooperate with civil authorities."

"I recognize how difficult it was to grasp the extent and complexity of the problem, to obtain reliable information and to make the right decisions in the light of conflicting expert advice," Benedict wrote.

"Nevertheless, it must be admitted that grave errors of judgment were made and failures of leadership occurred. And this has seriously undermined your credibility and effectiveness."

While the letter doled out no punishment for the bishops, the pope did order a Vatican investigation into some diocese, seminaries and religious orders. Such a move is undertaken only when Rome considers a local church unable to deal with a problem on its own. The Vatican ordered such an "apostolic visitation" into U.S. seminaries after the U.S. clerical sex abuse scandal exploded in 2002.

The results of the Irish investigation could lead to further action.

In the letter, the pope said merely that while bishops committed errors in the past, the church's leadership had already begun to remedy past mistakes.

Victims have been demanding that bishops resign, and three Irish bishops have offered to step down. Benedict hasn't accepted the resignations.

Asked why there were no punitive provisions contained in the letter, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi noted that the letter was pastoral, not administrative or disciplinary in nature, and that any further measures concerning resignations would be taken by the competent Vatican offices.

Three Irish government-ordered investigations published from 2005 to 2009 have documented how thousands of Irish children suffered rape, molestation and other abuse by priests in their parishes and by nuns and brothers in boarding schools and orphanages. Irish bishops did not report a single case to police until 1996 after victims began to sue the church.

The reports have faulted Rome for sending confusing messages to the Irish church about norms to be followed and, in general, for what it called the absence of a coherent set of canon laws and rules to apply in cases of abuse.

Benedict's letter addressed only the scandal in Ireland, not the other cases of abuse which have recently come to light in other countries across Europe, including in the pope's native Germany.

Lombardi acknowledged the other cases but said the Irish scandal was unique in its scope and in what the Vatican has already done, noting that the pontiff last month met with Ireland's bishops. But he said that obviously the letter could be read to apply to other countries and individuals.

As the reports have multiplied in recent weeks, many church authorities have noted that child sexual abuse is not unique to the Catholic Church, and they have defended the church's prevention strategies taken to combat it as effective.

But Benedict said it wasn't enough to argue that abuse is widespread in society at large. He said the Irish church must now address the problem that has occurred in the Irish Catholic community "and to do so with courage and determination."

The seven-page letter was divided into sections directed at particular groups: the victims, their parents, their abusers, the bishops and the Irish faithful as a whole. Addressing himself first to the victims, Benedict said he understood that nothing he could say could undo their pain. He equated their wounds with those of Christ, and said he hoped that they find the courage to find faith.

"Christ's own wounds, transformed by his redemptive sufferings, are the very means by which the power of evil is broken and we are reborn to life and hope."

The letter concluded with a prayer for the faithful to meditate on as they work to try to rebuild the church.

"May our sorrow and our tears, our sincere effort to redress past wrongs, and our firm purpose of amendment, bear an abundant harvest of grace for the deepening of faith in our families, parishes, schools and communities, for the spiritual progress of Irish society, and the growth of charity, justice, joy and peace within the whole human family."

(From the Associated Press)

Thursday, 18 March 2010

News Report: Dissolution Of Cabinet Have Imprint Of Nigeria's New Security Adviser

                                               [Aliyu Gusau]

The dissolution of the federal cabinet by Nigeria's Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan on wednesday 17th march, 2010 after the weekly meeting of The Executive Council Of The Federation have the imprint of the newly appointed National Security Adviser(NSA), rtd. Lt. General Aliyu Gusau. Gusau was also the National Security Adviser till the later part of the Olusegun Obasanjo civilian Administration when he left to join the contest in the primary election of the Peoples' Democratic Party(PDP), which he lost to President Umaru Yar'Adua.

The cabinet dissolution, chidi opara reports learnt authoritatively was to be the first official assignment of the Acting President. "A disturbing security report" however, forced him to put the assignment on hold.

Strategically placed security contacts had informed us some weeks ago that the said security report painted a picture of a plot to take over government by a group of middle rank officers in the military. This group was alleged to have the backing of a group of International Oil and Gas tycoons with business interests in Nigeria.

Bent on asserting his authority, the Acting President reportedly reached out to the trio of Olusegun Obasanjo, Theophilus Danjuma and Ibrahim Babangida. They were said to have advised that Aliyu Gusau should be made the National Security Adviser to check any untoward security situation that may arise from the impending cabinet dissolution, although Babangida reportedly initially nominated Haliru Akilu, a former military intelligence chief, contacts said that he finally deffered to Obasanjo and Danjuma, his seniors during the years in service.

On assumption of duty, Gusau who is reputed to be one the best Intelligence experts in sub-saharan Africa and also said to have wide range of strategic contacts within and outside Nigeria, reportedly worked on these contacts. By 8.30 pm on monday 15th march, 2010, the spymaster was said to have turned in a report which stated in part that "potential troublemakers have been demobilized for now".

Armed with this report, the Acting President directed his media aides to schedule a national broadcast in which the cabinet dissolution would be announced for 9.00pm on thursday 18th march, 2010.

A high level security contact told chidi opara reports that the change was a last minute security measure also advised by the NSA.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

News Release: Foodstuff And Cattle Merchants Strike: DPA Warns Lagos State And Police IG

                                           [Onovo, Nigeria Police IG]

The Democratic Peoples’ Alliance (DPA) has urged the Lagos State Government and the Inspector-General of Police to use the 30-day reprieve given by cattle dealers and foodstuff merchants to urgently dismantle structures facilitating double taxation and extortion by their officers.

DPA asked the Lagos State Government, Nigerian Police Force and other agencies to henceforth treat transporters of livestock and foodstuff as essential services in the category of petroleum tankers.

However, noting that food prices had since skyrocketed to about 500 percent in some cases even after the strike ended, Lagos DPA in a statement by its Director of Publicity, Felix Oboagwina, encouraged the traders to lower rates to pre-strike levels.

In the words of DPA: “We sympathise with pepper, cabbage and cattle traders in this fight against corruption and oppression. But they must realise that since their strike was voluntary, they also have a price to pay because any exercised rights come with commensurate responsibilities. These lingering price hikes mean that consumers suffer double jeopardy. Leaders of the traders should draw satisfaction from the fact that they have attracted the attention of relevant authorities and their cause is being handled at the highest quarters.”

Describing the traders’ grievances as not only legitimate but reasonable, the party urged relevant authorities to immediately attend to them.

According to DPA: “All the relevant agencies, including the police, Customs, agriculture produce inspectors, NAFDAC, NDLEA, LASTMA, Federal Road Safety Commission and local governments must come up with a holistic solution for all the bottlenecks that have turned the freighting of goods in our society into a nightmare. For starters, concerned governors must partner with all these people to lead serious initiatives to disband roadblocks in the food distribution chain in these states.”

However, the party blamed the present crisis on the fact that police and relevant traffic agencies had lost focus on why they were on the highway.

“How do we explain the fact that between the Ogun-Lagos border at Berger Bridge and Mile 12 foodstuff bulk depot there are these many checkpoints? It is criminal,” DPA submitted.

The party urged the Lagos State government to immediately embark on reorientation of LASTMA traffic officers, to ensure they concentrated on their primary assignment of keeping traffic flowing smoothly, instead of deviating to the “more lucrative” pastime of arresting wayfaring vehicles.

The party further urged Lagosians to empathise with the traders’ struggle and not to view it as sectional, but a fight against the tyranny of crooked people in authority, which would finally benefit the common man.

“We should realise that in other climes food is about the cheapest commodity,” the party said. “In fact, in some countries there is zero-taxation on food, with agricultural produce heavily subsidised and full insurance cover guaranteed to encourage food producers. Why can such not obtain here for the welfare and well-being of our people?”

The party accused the Lagos government of displaying impunity by failing to act on previous petitions and court orders the traders dispatched on the issues.

According to DPA, “It must be recalled that Liberians revolted against Samuel Doe over rice, Algerians undertook the Bread Riots, and the French Revolution began to stem high food prices and eventually overthrew the monarchy. Similarly the famous Tea Party in the colony of America began over the taxation and high charges imposed by Britain on the commodity.”

Felix Oboagwina
Director of Publicity, Lagos State DPA

Monday, 15 March 2010

News Release: INEC Workshop: A Dangerous Distraction

                                   [Maurice Iwu, INEC Chairman]

The Save Nigeria Group (SNG) views the proposed workshop on electoral reform organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) a dangerous distraction that Nigeria can ill-afford at this
time that all effort should be to encourage Acting President Goodluck Jonathan to take concrete and radical action on the Uwais Report.

It has become clear to every truthful and concerned Nigerian that the INEC under Professor Maurice Iwu’s leadership has outlived its usefulness, and what is remained of it is to prepare its book and handover to a credible and trusted electoral management body established according to the recommendations of the Uwais Report.

There is nothing wrong for INEC, even as discredited and incompetent as it is, to organize workshops for capacity building and enlightenment of stakeholders if it is a genuine effort to transform itself. Our experience is that Professor Iwu’s INEC will learn nothing because it refuses to admits its colossal moral and practical
failures. It is simply irredeemable and should be disbanded as soon as possible.

We urge Acting President Goodluck Jonathan not to grace Iwu’s public relation stunt with his presence. At this time that the Acting President has won deserved praise for his non-interference in recent elections under his watch, leading to a deserved defeat by his ruling PDP, he should not sully his reputable by attending Iwu’s misbegotten workshop. His attendance at such a workshop will be a political miscalculation that may dent the people’s faith in him as a leader who is prepared to push hard on electoral reform. His most immediate act should be to reconstitute a new electoral management body in the light of the Uwais Report. This begins with keeping a clear distance from Professor Iwu’s INEC.

The Nigerian people should not be deceived by Iwu’s resort to workshops and conferences. He has been tried, tested and found grossly wanting. The nation is tired of him. The beginning of any sensible electoral reform is the ouster of Professor Iwu from INEC. This should remain our focus and not this conceited workshop.

(1) Mr. 'Yinka Odumakin (2) Mallam Salihu Lukman (3) Engr. Buba Galadima (4) Mr. Osita Okechukwu (5) Mr. Mike Igini (6) Mallam Tanko Yunusa

News Release From MEND: Bomb Alert In Warri!

After receiving the baton of ignorance from his Bayelsa state counterpart, the governor of Delta State declared in the Vanguard newspaper of February 22, 2010 that "the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is a media creation."

This assertion coming from the same person who claimed publicly that an oil pipeline can be destroyed by one man armed with a bottle of petrol, is hardly surprising. What is surprising is how he managed to obtain a science degree.

Thinking of no better way to announce our continued presence in the Niger Delta to Mr Uduaghan, operatives of MEND today March 15, 2010, successfully breached the security at the Delta state government house in Warri and planted three explosive devices in and around this compound which is the venue of the Vanguard Post Amnesty Dialogue organised by the Vanguard newspaper.

These devices will be detonated remotely

In our usual effort to prevent the loss of innocent life, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta advises the immediate evacuation of the the Government House annex Warri and its immediate surroundings up to the Delta state Brodcasting Corporation.

The time given for this evacuation before the detonation of the first bomb is thirty (30) minutes which will elapse by 1130 hrs Nigerian time. The primary school bordering the government house annex should be evacuated immediately!

The first bomb will be detonated at exactly 1130 hrs. We will thereafter advise on the other devices planted within and around the venue of the vanguard newspaper organised and Delta state sponsored conference. Organisers and participants at this jamboree will ignore this warning at their peril !!!

People must not remain in their cars and attempt to drive their cars and maintain safe distance from all cars and the area!

The deceit of endless dialogue and conferences will no longer be tolerated. The lands of the people of the Niger Delta was stolen by the oil companies and Northern Nigeria with the stroke of a pen.

The vanguard organized and delta state sponsored conference is one of such tools of deception. The Niger Delta has been partitioned into oil blocks which have been distributed amongst mostly Northerners while indegenes of the Niger Delta can barely survive. One such example being General T.Y. Danjuma.

It is common knowlede that no southerner can lay claim to an inch of land in the North so why should we continue to talk as the occupation of our land and theft of our reources by the oil companies and Northern Nigeria persists?

The governors of the Niger Delta are shameless and visionless stooges who are more concerned with looting their state treasuries and seeking a second term in office, even against the wishes of their people.

MEND will attack any such gatherings designed to propagate more falsehood. Members of the public are hereby warned to avoid such gatherings as they may not be fortunate to have a warning before detonation.

In the coming days, we will carry out a number of attacks against installations and oil companies across the Niger Delta and will spread out to companies such as Total which have been spared in the past. We hope the actions which will follow will persuade Mr Uduaghan that we exist outside of cyberspace.

Jomo Gbomo

News Release: Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF): Another Fraud In The Constitutionality Of The Nigerian Nation

                                        [Saraki, Chairman NGF]

As every well meaning Nigerian and non-Nigerian have warned severally over the consequences of the apparent constitutional and political impasse that have plagued Nigerian Nation for over 100 days with the disappearance of President Yar’Adua, a new but fraudulent and illegal power broker is utter quietly appearing on the Nigerian political landscape, under a complimentary name, Nigeria Governors’ Forum.

Whereas, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum is nothing but illegal, unconstitutional and sheer fraud as its composition and constitution is not backed by our Constitution or any statutory provision in Nigeria.

This ambitious forum is equally “unregistrable” under the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990, a statute that empowers the Corporate Affairs Commission to carry out it functions of incorporating and registering corporate entities and personalities.

Nigeria Governors’ Forum is a forum of serving Nigerian governors that are elected with a fix period and enjoy several special statuses as provided by the Constitution.

The same Constitution regulates virtually all the acts and omissions of these governors as well as it envisages the need for the Governors to meet if they so desired, this explains why our ground norm provides in the Third Schedules, Part I of the Constitution for only permissible congregation for discussion in the Council of State and National Economic Council meetings.

The Constitution also spelt out the functions to be performed by the governors in the two statutory bodies, it is however surprising that the Governors particularly those elected under the platform of PDP have turned the fraudulent Forum to ventilate and dictate their party inglorious policy to undermine the provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria.

I humbly ask, what is the rationale behind the Nigeria Governors’ Forum's oblivious and deliberate disregards and breach of several constructional provisions beginning with disruptions of tenure of Local Government Council despite the simple and clear interpretation of Section 7 (1) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?

The impudence temperament of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to our Constitution and Nigerians aspirations and agitations became apparent when President Yar’Adua’s ailment and its attendants parochial induced crisis.

Rather than toeing the provisions of our constitution and douse amber of looming crisis the Governors pursued selfish agenda and turned simple constitutional interpretation on its head, collaborated with the so called cabal to transformed its forum to the highest decision-making body in Nigeria by trying to dished orders to the Vice-President now our Acting President and Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces of Nigeria.

It is the same infamous Forum that gleefully came out from one of their illegal meetings to decree in military fashion to all Nigeria that one, President Yar’Adua will not resign, two, that no medical board be instituted by the Executive Council of the Federation, to ascertain the health status of Yar’Adua and they end this constitutional impudent and the anti-people stance by decreeing that nothing can remove President Yar’Adua.

While the Forum’s shameful reasons for “the survival of our democracy” are completely self serving, untenable, illegal, unconstitutional and fraudulent, I with Egalitarian Mission Africa, a duly constituted organisation made up of professionals in the love for rule of law in our nation, the interminable loyalty to our Nigerian sacred Constitution and our concern for the progress and well-being of the entire 140 million or more Nigerians who had actually toiled and sweated for framing this nation to be structured and continued existing as our only homeland and a true giant of Africa, have again call for the disbandment of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum.

I also humbly call for investigation into the finance and affairs of this illegal forum to ascertain and determine the amount of public resources that have been diverted to finance the illegal forum.

Finally, it is my unshakable belief that it is not an illegal and parochial forum like the one instituted by the PDP Governors under the bogus name, Nigeria Governors Forum that will save Nigeria but the fundamentals of the organs of our government, instilled by honour, service and patriotism and persuaded by our statutes and superior point of views that will be used to haul the country from the present foxhole and clear all the real and imaginary impediments against full activation of our constitutional provisions in the extant event of unknown whereabouts and uncertain state of health of President Yar’Adua.

Thank you,

Barr. Kayode Ajulo
Chairman, Egalitarian Mission, Africa

Sunday, 14 March 2010

News Report: Jos Massacre Polarizes Berom And Fulani Security Operatives.

                                      [Gusau, Nigeria's National Security Adviser]

The masacre of inhabitants of Dogo Hawa village in Jos allegedly by Fulani cattle rearers at the early hours of sunday, 7th march 2010 have polarized Berom and Fulani security operatives into ethnic divides, chidi opara reports have learnt.

Security managers in the services are reported to be having problems maintaining comradeship, a necessary condition for team work in security operations.

A security contact told us that the way communications was managed immediately after the mayhem pitched security operatives from the Berom and Fulani stocks against each other. "The Beroms and the Fulanis in the security services now see each other as enemies", this contact volunteered.

Another contact who is a retired State Security Services(SSS) operative, who now consults for highly placed individuals and companies, told us that "the mutual suspicion between the Fulanis and the Beroms in the security services would hamper effective operations".

Investigation by chidi opara reports revealed that the Beroms and the Fulanis in the security services now prefer to foward reports first to their respective ethnic leaders before passing same to the appropriate quarters.

We also found out that operatives in the State Security Service from the Berom ethnic group who work under officers from the Fulani stock, look for one excuse or the other to be absent from duty. One Berom SSS operative deployed to one of the airports whose immediate boss is Fulani, told one of our network members that; "my oga is a nice man sha, but then I am Berom and he is Fulani, you know what I mean".

Meanwhile. tension have continued to build in Plateau and neighbouring states with some Berom leaders reportedly making contacts with militant elements in the South-east, South-west and South-south regions of Nigeria. chidi opara reports was unable to verify this information at the time of preparing this report.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Editorial: Jos Massacre: Security Chiefs Should Go

At the early hours of sunday, the 7th of march, 2010, some fulani herdsmen allegedly entered the village of Dogo Hawa in Jos, the capital city of Plateau state Nigeria with matchets and other local weapons and massacred hundreds of villagers including women, children and the aged.

This attack was apparently a continuation of the crisis that have engulfed the city for sometime now.

Individuals and institutions have been condoling the government and people of Plateau state. Appeals have also been made for forgiveness and peace. chidi opara reports subscribes to these sentiments.
We however, do not subscribe to the opinion that the respective security chiefs paid and maintained with the resources of the people, whose duties are remotely connected to protecting lifes and properties in Jos are not culpable.

In saner societies, these security fat cats would have by now sent in their resignation letters. What the nation is witnessing instead are buck passing and unnecesary parade of dubious professional credentials.

That a group of cattle rearers assembled and planned that magnitude of operation undetected, exposes the fact that the Nigerian security system unlike its modern counterparts in other countries, is not proactive. The system cannot even be said to be adequately reactionary, since very little was done to contain the situation during the massacre.

Without prejudice to whatever measures to be put into place by government to permanently close this chapter of violence in Plateau state and in other parts of Nigeria, we at chidi opara reports are of the opinion that all security chiefs whose jobs are remotely connected with the protection of lifes and properties in the affected area should be relieved of their duties. The security system should also be immediately overhauled with the objective of making it proactive.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

News Report: Nigeria's Three Most Influential Retired Generals Re-Unite

Indications have emerged that retired Generals Olusegun Obasanjo, Theophilus Danjuma and Ibrahim Babangida have decided to sink their political differences and work together.

The trio was in power from 1976 to1979. While Obasanjo held the post of Head of State, Danjuma was Chief of Army Staff and Babangida as a colonel was a member of the Supreme Military Council(SMC), the highest decision making organ of the Federation then. Babangida later became military President in 1985.

These retired Army topshots parted ways during the  second term of the Obasanjo civilian Presidency when conflicts arose in their political interests.

The Goodluck Jonathan (Acting) Presidency, chidi opara reports learnt have now brought them together. We learnt on good authority that bringing the retired Generals together was part of the Acting President's strategy to contain the influential and stubborn Yar'Adua group and consolidate power. Dr. Jonathan's ascendance to the position was opposed by the Yar'Adua group.

Contacts close to the Acting President have confirmed to us that Dr. Jonathan on transforming to the position held separate meetings with Obasanjo, Danjuma and Babangida. During the meetings, the Acting President was said to have impressed it on each of the retired Generals the need to place the peace and stability of the nation above personal interests and the need for them to work together in the nation's interests. These meetings we learnt was followed by another between the Generals in a guest house said to belong to one of Danjuma's companies at the Gwarimpa estate in Abuja.

"Very soon, the outcome of this rapproachment would start to manifest", a contact close to Obasanjo told one of our network members in Lagos. The first outcome of this re-union may be the recent appointment of Danjuma as Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee(PAC) and the re-appointment of retired General Aliyu Guasu as National Security Adviser(NSA). Security contacts have also confirmed to chidi opara reports that Gusau is very close to the trio.

Monday, 8 March 2010

News Release: Jos Massacre: Testing The Will Of The Acting President

Another rude shock hit the country on Sunday with the outbreak of violence in Jos claiming between 200-500 lives from different media reports.

It is a sad development that this orgy of killings has taken place again in Jos, a permanent flashpoint in the last two years.

If true be told, the latest crisis is an indictment of the security forces in Nigeria which have largely shown failure of intelligence by not being able to nip this kind of crisis in the bud.

We call on the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to get all the security forces cracking towards the following end:

Immediately restore normalcy to the affected areas,

Apprehend the sponsors and perpetrators of this mayhem so that they can be brought to book. The inability to punish architects of such violence in the past has been an enabling factor for others to do same,

Probe the role of soldiers who allegedly refused to respond to distress calls from the villagers until the attackers finished their killings. This is necessary to ascertain if there is any linkage between those deploying troops to the airport without the knowledge of the Acting President and the likely sponsors of this violence.

There is every reason to suspect that there are sinister forces plotting the destabilization of the country who may be using the serial violence to create an enabling environment. The more reason why we must get to the root of this.

Our heats go to all the families who have lost dear ones in this latest crisis as we call on the government to put an end to this needless loss of lives and property.

‘Yinka Odumakin
National Publicity Secretary,
Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG)

News Release: Stop Shielding Corrupt Agencies And Commissioners, DPA Warns Lagos State Assembly

                                            [Fashola, Lagos State Governor]

The Democratic Peoples’ Alliance (DPA) has challenged the Lagos State House of Assembly to publish the names of agencies and their heads that the Legislature claimed mismanaged fiscal votes in the 2009 budget.

The House Committee on Appropriation had cited its indictment of some government agencies as reason for shaving off nearly 10 percent from Governor Raji Fashola’s initial budget proposal for 2010.

“We Lagosians suffering the brunt of misappropriated public funds say, enough is enough. Time has come for the Assembly to blow the whistle on unscrupulous Lagos public officers who have helped themselves to the till,” DPA said in a statement by its Director of Publicity, Felix Oboagwina.

Noting that the House had failed to follow up a similar verdict in 2007 after its probe of council administrators unearthed over N700 million in misappropriated funds, the party insisted that the House must muster the political will to pursue the fresh allegations to a logical conclusion.

“In its oversight function, the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee had made these startling discoveries. But it must do more than raising an alarm. It should forward its discoveries to relevant agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and other appropriate agencies in the spirit of public accountability and transparency,” DPA said.

The House appropriated N389.570 billion for this year’s budget, slashing off N40.026 billion from the N429.596 billion that the Executive initially proposed. Legislators premised the cut partly on the complaint that some of last year’s funds remained unaccountable.

On its own part, DPA blamed the inexplicable disappearance of allocated public funds for Lagos’s poor rating as 136th out of 140 selected cities in the world.

“Those who should be bringing sectoral and infrastructural development and improvement to Lagos have been helping themselves to the till,” DPA lamented.

Accusing the government of covering up corrupt officers, DPA insisted that indicted heads of MDAs must be identified and made to account for the mismanaged sums.

“When it comes to corruption, mismanagement and misappropriation, the government ought to let everybody answer his father’s name,” the party said. “It is even worse when the House that should be providing the constitutional and institutional check-and-balance condones corruption by colluding in cover-ups instead of comprehensively publishing indictments.”

With Lagos earning about N20 billion from Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR) monthly in addition to federal allocations and other sources, last year’s budget stood at N405 billion.

The government rated the 2009 budget performance at 75 percent.

FELIX Oboagwina
Director of Publicity, Lagos state DPA

Photonews: Again Mayhem In Jos Nigeria

Hundreds of people were reportedly massacred with matchets and other crude weapons allegedly by some fulani herdsmen at Dogo Hawa village in Jos, capital city of Plateau State of Nigeria on sunday, 7th march 2010. This is apparaently a continuation of the mayhem that have been occuring in the city for sometime now. This incidence have since been confirmed by the Plateau state government.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

News Release: Mass Action in Abuja!

The Save Nigeria Group (SNG) cordially invites Nigerians from all walks of life and across the country to be part of our campaign to:

(1) Bring the invisible presidency to a closure via Section 144 of the constitution,
(2) Force Electoral Reforms on the front burner to restore integrity of the ballot box.

Date: Wednesday 10th March 2010

Take Off Point: Unity Fountain, Near Transcorp Hotel, Abuja.

Time: 8:00am prompt

Gen. Alani Akinrinade (Rtd), Engr. Buba Galadima, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Sheik Ahmad Abdurahaman, Mr. Solomon Asemota (SAN), Dr. Usman Bugaje, Senator Abu Ibrahim, Mr. Ayo Opadokun, Hajiya Najatu Mohammed, Hon. Olawale Oshun, Hon. Uche Onyeagucha, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, Ms Ayo Obe, Ms Annkio Briggs, Mallam Uba Sani, Sauda Saad (Esq).

(1) Mr. 'Yinka Odumakin (2) Mallam Salihu Lukman (3) Mr. Osita Okechukwu (4) Mr. Mike Igini (5) Mallam Tanko Yunusa

Thursday, 4 March 2010

News Release: Report Of Ministerial Delegation To Saudi Arabia

                                                   [Mahmud Yayale Ahmed]

1. Recall that on the 17th of February council constituted a six man cabinet delegation to visit President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who was hospitalized in Saudi Arabia. They were also to convey the appreciation of the government and the good people of Nigeria to the Saudi Monarch for the care and support given to our President.

2. Membership of the delegation was as follows:
(i) Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, CFR (Leader of the Delegation)
(ii) Chief Ojo Maduekwe, CFR, (Member)
(iii) Dr. Rilwanu Lukman, CFR, (Member)
(iv) Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, SAN, (Member)
(V) Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin,OON (Member)
(vi) Dr. Abba Sayyadi Ruma, (Member )

3. Preparatory to this visit the acting president had addressed a letter to the Royal Majesty, King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , introducing the delegation as a special envoy from the presidency. In the letter, the acting president conveyed the profound appreciation and deep gratitude of the government and the entire people of Nigeria to the king, for the kindness, hospitality, fraternal care and excellent facilities extended to President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

4. The delegation reported that they departed Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport , Abuja , early hours of Tuesday, 23rd February 2010, some minutes after midnight. On their arrival in Riyadh , Saudi Arabia , they were received by the Nigerian Ambassador, Alhaji Abdullahi Aminchi and the Royal Protocol Personnel and driven straight to the Conference Palace , where they were accommodated.

5. Prior to their arrival, the Nigerian Ambassador has secured appointment for them to be recived by His Highness, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs at 18.00 hours on the 23rd February, 2010. The Foreign Minister received us on behalf of the Saudi King and re-affirmed the commitment of the Saudi Government to promoting good relationship with Nigeria . He also assured the delegation that the Health of President Yar’Adua was improving. The delegation thanked the Saudi Foreign Minister for the warm reception and the hospitality which the kingdom accorded to them and delivered the Acting President’s letter to him, for onward transmission to His Royal Majesty, King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud.

6. Thereafter, the Nigerian Ambassador, Alhaji Abdullahi Aminchi informed the delegation that he had received information that President Yar’Adua had been discharged and was on his way back to Abuja . From all indications, the President must have departed Jeddah Airport at about 10 pm, Saudi time on Tuesday 23rd February 2010. With news that the President had left Saudi Arabia for Nigeria , the delegation did not consider it necessary to proceed to Jeddah, where the President was hospitalized. Accordingly, they decided to return to Nigeria .

7. The delegation departed Riyadh at about 5.30am on Wednesday 24th February 2010 and arrived Abuja at about 10.30 am.

8. The Acting President was accordingly briefed on their return.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation
Head of Delegation, Abuja
1st March, 2010.

Monday, 1 March 2010

News Release: Don't Encumber Goodluck Jonathan With Yar'Adua's Liabilities

                                 [Goodluck Jonathan]

All patriots must be worried by the negotiations alleged to be currently going on between the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and Alhaji Umar Yar'Adua's loyalists led by the Agriculture and Water Resources Minister, Dr. Sayyadi Abba-Ruma, on how to protect the political and business interests of Yar'Adua's political and personal family under a Jonathan presidency, and how to continue to guarantee protection against prosecution to a former South-South Governor who has become a serious embarrassment to the nation's so-called fight against corruption, but had hitherto enjoyed Yar'Adua's protection.

We must remind the Acting President that history has presented him with a unique opportunity to have a clean break with the do-nothing, corrupt style of Yar'Adua and provide a drastic change of direction towards more purposeful governance.

He should not squander this opportunity by allowing his regime to be entrapped and impeded by those same agents of retrogression and corrupt self-accumulation that rendered the Yar'Adua regime such a pitiable failure.

He should know that as President, even if still acting, he does not owe Yar'Adua or his political or personal family anything, but he owes Nigerians everything, the provision of good, people oriented governance, free from corruption.

He must know that his mandate is to serve all Nigerians and not the interests of a greedy cabal, and in doing so, he must exercise his constitutional freedom to choose his own ministers and be ready to accept full responsibility for their performance.

Mr Jonathan must now show that he has what it takes to be the kind of President that Nigeria needs at these times.

Senator Femi Okurounmu
General Secretary, Afenifere